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Divorced parent dilemma: Celebrating a child's special days

Divorced parents often have to face challenges that other parents don't contend with. One of these is how they are going to celebrate a child's special days. These are events like birthdays, graduations and school plays that are important to your child and that can be amazing memories if they are handled in a positive way.

There are several things that you have to think about when you are making plans for these days. Here are a few to get you started:

The child's wishes

One of the primary considerations has to be what your child wants. Most children will want both parents at their major events, so you should try to make this possible. Some children might say that they don't want both parents there but this might be said out of fear that you and your ex can't get along for the time you will be in the same space. Make sure that you know the reasoning behind the child's claim if he or she says that only one parent should attend.

The type of celebration

When you are trying to make plans for the day, think about what kinds of celebrations you can have. You need to consider the type of event, but you also need to think about how you are going to celebrate before or after the event, if a celebration is necessary.

  • Are you having a party at your home?
  • Are you going to go out to lunch or dinner?
  • Would it be better if you and your ex had separate celebrations or can you get along for a joint one?

The rules of the event

You and your ex need to set firm rules for the event, especially if both families will be coming together. Make it clear to everyone that the child is the focus of the day. This isn't an appropriate time to hash out issues or raise possible problems. Instead, let the child enjoy having family members there to support him or her. If there is a chance that trouble might arise, make it clear that those involved will be asked to leave. It might even be a good idea to ban alcohol if you think that it might exacerbate the arguments.

You and your ex can set a high standard for what is expected at events for the children. Not only will this help them to feel better about these events, it also shows them that acting like an adult can make the best of a challenging situation.

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